review by Bobby Blakey
Some of the most powerful movies come from real life situations. The latest, Blackbird that is a remake of the Danish film Silent Heart, features a great cast including Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill, Rainn Wilson, Bex Taylor-Klaus and Lindsay Duncan from Notting Hill director Roger Michell. Could this film capture the true depth of its content or will it be a family gathering not worth mourning?
Blackbird follows Lily who is dying and by the end of this weekend, she'll be dead. She suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is planning to pursue euthanasia with the help of her husband Paul and invites her family and her longtime best friend Liz to the house so they can spend her final days together. But there's tension between her daughters, the uptight Jennifer and the wayward Anna, and it threatens to destroy her perfectly laid-out plan.
Even knowing the direction of the film this is a pretty heavy film and to my surprise still worked way better than I thought it might. I was afraid knowing the reason for their weekend visit in advance might make it lose some of its effect, but it still packs the needed motional punch. The story is one that will hit everyone a bit different depending on if you have dealt with any of the varying issues here and most likely you have.
As expected the cast are all great with each of them getting their time to shine. Gone is the clichéd Hollywood family dynamic that is usually infused into these kinds of movies and instead the feeling of real people dealing with so many deeper issues than why they came together in the first place. I love when films like this don’t try to bring big twists and let them just be yet still bring some surprises to keep it engaging throughout. This is one that is all about the cast and they bring it all together perfectly.
As mentioned this is a heavy movie but one that still brings heart, laughs, and light to an otherwise darker situation. The family dynamic is what the true focus here which is typically where most real life stories play out as well. Check out Blackbird available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Screen Media.